First, apologies for the lack of game previews this week. I was listed as “sick as hell” with a sinus infection. Let’s get right to the picks.
Cowboys at Panthers: Through the Cowboys’ first 4 games, they averaged 67.8 rushing yards per game. Then last week in Baltimore, here’s what they did:
In the Panthers, the Cowboys find themselves facing a team that can’t tackle. Their offensive line has an excellent chance of building on a good performance in the run game last week. Here are the Panthers’ missed tackle numbers in comparison to the rest of the league, through Week 5 this season:
The Panthers are weakened further with CB Chris Gamble being ruled out this week, and LB Jon Beason unlikely to play. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, starting RB DeMarco Murray will also be out. Felix Jones had a nice run last week and showed some life for the first time in a while, but I’m not ready to anoint him as being “back.”
Tough circumstances for the Cowboys this week. They played what was probably an emotionally draining game last week in Baltimore, traveled home, and then had to travel right back to the East Coast to face the Panthers, who are rested and coming off their bye week.
Cowboys drop another one, Panthers 23-20.
Redskins at Giants: Should be a fun one. Take a look at the total combined points per game in the Redskins’ games this season. Let’s refer to this as the “Excitement/Boredom Index”:
The Redskins can’t stop anybody, but at the same time, teams aren’t exactly stopping them either. I have little doubt the Redskins will be able to score in this one, particularly with the Giants missing Kenny Phillips, Rocky Bernard and Jacquian Williams, as well as a having a banged up Michael Boley.
The question is… Can the Skins outscore the Giants? Credit Hakeem Nicks for giving it a go last week, but he looked gimpy to me. If I’m the Redskins, I’m giving significant extra attention to Victor Cruz, and taking my chances on getting beaten by Nicks. But I don’t think the Skins can stop the Giants either way. The Giants run game has suddenly gone from complete non-factor to something that needs to at least be respected. That will do wonders for an already potent passing game.
Giants take a commanding lead on the NFC East, 38-28.